Day 1 in Austin Recap

I’m digging Austin so far. SXSW events kick off today, so aside from my badge pick up and some check-ins (literal and virtual) yesterday was pretty light and gave me some perspective and the ability to scout around a bit.  Even with the light activity, my phones never stopped buzzing and there were more streams of notifications coming in than ever before.  Have to figure out a charging strategy … added an Enercell (thanks Ricky!) as a starting point.

Here’s a quick recap of my first day in town …

Farmer's Market Breakfast @ The Four Seasons
Mandatory visit to Mellow Johnny's
Shrimp Po Boy @ Perla's
The Sampler @ Iron Works BBQ

Russell Simmons

As I was walking to pick up dinner tonight I noticed a particularly blinged out black SUV (think it was a Suburban) but did not think much of it until I went inside and saw Russell Simmons slurping some soup and chatting via bluetooth on his Blackberry 7100t. He seemed to be traveling with a partner / driver / protector — aka very large dude sitting a few seats over at the sushi bar to give his man some space.

Lunch at Otto!

We just had a great lunch at Otto. The food and service were excellent and it was one of the most kid-friendly places we’ve ever been. There were many kids there and in a only in New York way there were at least 4 Bugaboo strollers (including ours) parked inside. There are changing tables in both washrooms – always a good sign – and they really catered the experience for kids with crayons, breadsticks and plenty of highchairs. It’s great to see a restaurant like this make a difference for all types of customers.

The food was seriously good.. We had a pizza and pasta dish and a gelato for dessert. I’d recommend it to anyone in the vicinity. We’ll definitely be going back!

Chantico – Drinking Chocolate

Just working in the Starbucks Office today and tried a sample of Chantico or Drinking Chocolate. It’s awesome hot chocolate! Thick, rich and delicious. Nothing like it to wash down the Doppio (double espresso) I just enjoyed… buzz buzz!

Excellent meal in SF

Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I had an amazing meal in San Fran tonight…

The place is called the Slanted Door and it’s a Vietnamese fusion place on Embarcadero now in the ferry building. The tastes were excellent — very clean and simple but soooo good! I’ll definitely have to try it again next visit.

Totonno’s Pizzeria!

We may have just had the best pizza in New York!

Totonno’s recently opened a location near where we live, so it’s not only easy to visit to dine-in but also within delivery range! Since the storm front was moving in quickly tonight we decided to go for delivery, which took considerably longer than the usual neighborhood pizza joint, but the taste was in it’s own world – beyond compare.

The usual delivery options are officially closed out… There’s just no reason to go for anything other than the best. I can’t wait to try it again from within to get a fuller experience. The pizza is thin crust cooked in a coal oven with a thicker crust than Lombardi’s or Patsy’s, but tastier! The sauce and cheese are excellent! We opted for the Margherita tonight but the Bianca (white pizza) is supposed to be great as well – perhaps next time we’ll mix in a small one to complement the first pie.

There are two other locations – Upper East and Yonkers… if you are nearby, you must give it a go.

Shake Shack – Preview Week

Just had a few dogs (yeah I know it’s early) at the Shake Shack and thought I’d file a small report for those interested parties… judging by my traffic reports, there are quite a few of you.

At the moment you can get Hot Dogs, Soda and Beer, Fries and Ice Cream. The full menu will be available on July 1 and will include quite a few more options like a Portabella Mushroom Sandwich, Burgers, Shakes, Concretes and Wine.

The Dogs are pretty good… They are Vienna Beef – the thinner kind of dogs and taste good. Far from the best dog – I’m actually partial to the Kosher Franks myself, as they have much more spice in them. There are three basic options – the Chicago Dog (10 toppings), The Taxi Dog (2 toppings – Kraut and Onions) and I can’t recall what the third is called, but it’s plain.

We had the Taxi Dogs, though I added relish. All good. Certainly worth the trip or a stop if you are already in the ‘hood (Madison Square Park) and want a Hot Dog. Definitely looking forward to the full menu.

New Burger in Town…

Grabbed lunch today at New York Burger Company and was generally pleased with the food…

from the menu:

New York Burger Co. is keeping it REAL: Starting with Coleman all-natural beef, we’re trailblazing and doing things the old-fashioned was. No artificial anything! We sizzle our burgers over a charcoal grill and serve them on freshly baked brioche buns. And that’s why our burgers are so great. Our delicious sauces are homemade, our freshly cut fries are prepared in cholesterol free soybean oil and our smoothies are made with real fruit.

The fries were a bit too soggy for me, but they were thick cut and tasty. The burger itself (had the New York Cheeseburger) was a good thick burger, like one you might grill for yourself, rather than a slim patty from a fast food nation style locale. NYBC is located on Park, between 23 and 24th streets… just East of Madison Square Park and the soon to open Shake Shack

I still think Blue9 is the best around…

New Peruvian Soft Drink Packs a Punch

This is a pretty amazing development coming from Peru and apparently it’s not the only beverage product looking to take advantage of the coca leaf…

A Peruvian company is producing a soft drink with coca, the much-maligned green leaf used to make cocaine.
[New York Times]

Dave Chappelle did a parody of Red Bull called Red Balls
, which was like crack in a can, but this is actually real. It only includes trace amounts of cocaine, but still…

Shake Shack Coming Soon!

We’ve been watching the constuction in Madison Park wondering just what might be coming and now we know… Sounds like a regular lunch stop to me!

Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack, the Madison Square Park kiosk, will make its unofficial debut next weekend during the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, and officially July 1. The shack will serve burgers, crinkle-cut fries, the Chicago-style hot dogs that had people waiting in very long lines last summer, PLUS frozen custard! [NYC Eats]

nyc burgerwatch

I have eaten hamburgers every day for the last two months. I have traveled the five boroughs of New York City to do so. And in the city’s lowliest corner diners and loftiest expense account restaurants, I have found satisfaction. New York, my research has documented again and again, is a hamburger heaven.

[NYT]Thanks Anil!

I am going to have to try the Blue 9 burger… If if it is anything like an In-N-Out, then oh my!